It’s easy to imagine it. Stepping onto the stage and looking out into the audience, you dream of seeing hundreds–no–thousands of faces staring back at you, screaming with excitement as you take the stage, singing every word back to you. A crowd is as passionate about your music and your favourite bands’ music.
It is the ultimate dream.
It’s possible, and it is within your reach.
There are some things that you must do first. One is to make sure your live show makes people want to return for more. How can you achieve this?
Boost the excitement before and after the event
People need to see the same thing 7 times on average before they notice it. Advertisers know this, so we are often bombarded with the same ads repeatedly. It works.
Your business is your music career. The way you promote it is the same. Your audience needs to be reminded of what’s up and what they are missing if they don’t take the next step. This must be repeated over and over. Be sure to build hype and not spam.
For example, I don’t want you posting the same show flyer with different words “come to our Show” 10 times. This is not going to get anyone to your show. Instead, I want to encourage you to think of creative ways to spread the word.
This is what it looks like before a show.
- Stories in which you mention the show as part of another topic. “IE: Today we ate pizza and went to the party shop to buy some amazing supplies for our show on Saturday.” Then you show the supplies and have fun with them. It’s part of the conversation but not the main topic.
- Ask other bands, preferably the ones on the bill, to write a post or a story about what they are most excited about this weekend. Make sure to mention the show. Remember, the show is part of the conversation, not the main focus.
- Make a post asking fans to vote or submit songs you would like to play at the show. Then re-share and add your thoughts/text/etc.
Get hyped after the show.
Ask your friends to take photos or videos of you performing. Then, tag you on social media. Finally, you can share it on your social media after the show.
Even if your audience is small and you only have a few people doing this (or ask your friend or merch person to do it the first few time), it’s a great way to build anticipation for the next show and to show people what you’re up to.
Your personality should shine.
Listen, I respect artists who take to the stage and share their hearts with the world. It is not an easy task. It’s not easy but do it. It would be best if you weren’t afraid to express your personality or sing along with the songs. This makes it boring and unremarkable.
It can be scary to let your personality shine on stage. But think about all the brands you love. Are they just going through the motions trying not to stand out? Or are they letting it all out there with a “like-it or not” attitude? Which is the most memorable?
Get your audience involved.
It is a missed opportunity. I cannot count the number of shows I have been to without audience participation. It can be awkward, you don’t know what you should say, and it can also feel silly, but I guarantee that audience interaction is essential.
I’m not pointing at someone to say, “hey, you’re not dancing!” I also don’t mean being a jerk like, “How are we doing tonight Wisconsin?” You need to engage your audience if you want them to pay attention.
Here are some ways you can do it:
- Ask them to shout the answer to a simple question that they know without thinking. IE: “Where can we find a great slice pizza around here?” Or “Jonny and me were just debating this, and you can see that I have on stripes while he has on Polka dots–which one do you prefer?”
It’s important to get them involved and make the night more interesting. It can be a great way to keep them engaged, especially if you’re unfamiliar with your music.
- Ask them to clap along. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but it works.
Practice, Practice and Practice
Do you know how to practice your instrument? You also need to practice as a group. You don’t have to go through the steps of a song when you meet up for rehearsals. Talk about ways to make the live experience better for your fans. You may want to talk to the audience in parts like the one above. Once you have determined where to do this, you can add it to your practice routine.
You want to create a sense of harmony and interaction among the members of your band (which I believe there should be since when the audience feels that the band is having fun together, it’s more enjoyable). Then practice this until it becomes more natural.
These things that you’ve never done before can’t be expected to come easily in the middle of a performance. It would be best to practice them until you feel more confident and can improvise. It’s okay to practice and learn while you go.
Every show can be played as if you were at Madison Square Garden.
The golden rule. No matter how many people you are playing for, it is important to perform like you’re in your dream venue every time. You owe it to the people who paid you to see you and because you never know who might be watching you.
Bands that achieved great success did not do so because they called it in on performances that they felt were unworthy of their best energy. They got there because they gave their all, no matter what, and knew it would only benefit them and their live shows.